Australia Implicated in Swimming Cheating Scandal

Photo: SwimSwam

BELCONNEN, ACT, Australia – Swimming Australia has been the latest organization pulled into the para swimming cheating scandal, with allegations of faking classification tests to get an ‘easier’ classification and thus more medals.

The revelation came through Australian public broadcaster the ABC with allegations made on The Ticket program. A number of swimmers and parents expressed concerns similar to those alleged in the United Kingdom with a recent parliamentary enquiry.

Australian swimming coach Simon Watkins has coached at Paralympic level and spoke on the show about cheating, and how it is widespread, and a common discussion topic, although declined to name if it was happening in Australia. For its part Swimming Australia has responded, saying that cheating will not be tolerated.

One swimmer spoke about being coached to ‘enhance’ the impairment of disability before classification, using methods like exhaustion to make the impairment appear more serious. The accusations she made ventured into more serious territory including athletes not taking medication.

Another common trend in this sort of story continued in Australia, with threats toward those raising the concerns. In Australia It was threats of breaching classification rules, ironically, allegedly used to silence the critics, which led to turning to the ABC, and the International Paralympic Committee.

Swimming Australia’s response to these allegations was that cheating will not be tolerated, although stopped short of saying outright that swimmers and coaches would be banned.

“If we knew of the situation, and the coaches, we would respond immediately and extremely strongly,” said Swimming Australia CEO Mark Anderson.

In Australia winning more medals at the Paralympic Games results in more funding (despite the disparity in the number of events each sport is eligible to win). As a result swimming is the highest funded sport, and hence there may be an incentive for such schemes.

The allegations will no doubt be examined as part of the International Paralympic Committee review of swimming, but these allegations are not different to many other countries.


IPC Reschedules Para Swimming and Powerlifting World Championships

MEXICO CITY, Mexico – The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced new dates for the World Para Swimming and World Para Powerlifting Championships to be held in Mexico City as the 2017 Para Sport Festival.

The events were postponed due to the earthquake in Mexico City last month and will now take place from the 27th of November to the 7th of December. Both events will remain in Mexico City with no worries about the venues being damaged in the earthquake.

Originally the event was slated to begin on the 30th of September through to the 6th of October, but the earthquake which hit Mexico City on the 19th of September made it an unsafe environment to host the event, leading to the postponement.

After announcing the changed event date teams now have a new date to submit their final squads to the IPC, they will have until Sunday (October 8th) to finalize and register their squads ahead of the events.

“After extensive dialogue, it is clear that both the Local Organising Committee and City Mexico are eager and very passionate about rescheduling the 2017 Para Sport Festival,” said IPC President Andrew Parsons. They want to show to the world that Mexico City is open and that life and business is continuing. At the same time, the feedback from the IPC membership is that they are keen for the Championships to go ahead.”

“After carrying out all of the necessary safety checks on the venues, team hotels and all related infrastructure, we have decided to reschedule the Championships for two months later than originally planned.”

The decision was taken as part of solidarity with Mexico City, to continue the IPCs effort to support the city as it recovers from the earthquake, with the Agitos Foundation raising $40,000.


Ten World Records fall at World Para Swimming World Series Berlin

The start of the 100m freestyle in Berlin (Photo: World Para Swimming)

Saturday saw ten more world records fall at the World Para Swimming World Series event in Berlin, the final event before the World Championships at the end of the month.

Yet again the action was tight with a plethora of world records with Monica Boggioni, the Italian teenager won yet again. She continued on from her 200m freestyle win on Thursday with a win in the 150m individual medley, winning and setting a new world record of SM4 of 2:46.73.

Continue reading “Ten World Records fall at World Para Swimming World Series Berlin”

Indy World Para Swimming World Series Event Wraps up

Lakeisha Patterson (Photo: Creative Commons)

Australian Lakeisha Patterson continued her form at the Indianapolis Swimming World Series which concluded on Sunday as she claimed two more gold medals.

Patterson claimed her first gold in the women’s 100m freestyle S8 easily beating out American Julia Gaffney with 1:06.19. She then came out later in the night and won the 100m butterfly S8 with a time of 1:18.61 beating Canadian Danielle Dorris and Colombian Laura Rodriguez.

Continue reading “Indy World Para Swimming World Series Event Wraps up”

Charlotte Henshaw Switches Swimming for Canoeing

Charlotte Henshaw (Photo: University of Salford Press, Creative Commons License)

There has been a big change in Great Britain as Paralympic medallist Charlotte Henshaw announced she will be switching from swimming to canoeing going forward, she announced on Tuesday.

Hernshaw won a silver medal in London and a bronze medal in Rio for the 100m breaststroke SB6 and this week confirmed her retirement from the sport. In Rio she was identified by British Canoeing as a prospect and has now joined their Talent Confirmation Programme.

Continue reading “Charlotte Henshaw Switches Swimming for Canoeing”

World Record Broken as Sheffield Para Swimming World Series Event Closes

New world record holder Arnost Petracek

A long time world record has finally been lowered as Czech swimmer Arnost Petracek set a new world record in the men’s 50m backstroke S4 at the Sheffield Para Swimming World Series event on Sunday.

Petracek was amazed at his time, breaking a world record that has stood since the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games. His time of 42.22 seconds shaved just under half a second off the old record held by Mexican Juan Reyes.

That time meant Petracek demolished the competition in the multi-classification race, earning 1,035 points, the most of the meet. His next nearest competitor finishing almost 300 points back as British swimmer Andrew Mullen had to settle for silver.

It was a two man race in the men’s 200m freestyle and much closer than the earlier backstroke race. Britain’s Thomas Hamer continued his good meet as he won the race earning 953 points, finishing just ahead of a surging Wai Lok Tang of Hong Kong who earned 926 points.

The women’s 200m freestyle was dominated by intellectually disabled athletes and resulted in another gold for Great Britain. Bethany Firth won just ahead of team mate Jessica Jane Applegate with Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg off the pace in third.

Rebecca Meyers continued her stunning form as she won her third race of the meet in the women’s 400m freestyle. Meyers was well ahead of the field as she managed 877 points, two British swimmers finishing behind her in Elanor Robinson and Maisie Summers-Newton.

In the men’s 400m freestyle there was another three time gold medallist as Uzbek swimmer Dmitriy Khorlin claimed the win. He finished well in front of the British duo of Lewis White and Jacob Leach both finishing 100 points further back to finish the meet.

United States and Britain Dominate Sheffield Swimming World Series Event

Rebecca Meyers

After a good performance from British swimmers on Thursday, it was the Americans turn on Friday as they managed big wins at the World Para Swimming World Series in Sheffield.

Rebecca Meyers and Letticia Martinez were the stars for the United States in what was a strong performance from the American women. Again the events were multi classification with the winner decided on points.

Meyers continued her good form in the Medley events as she claimed the women’s 200m individual medley for her second world series win of the year. She won with 960 points closely followed by Uzbek Shokhsanakhon Toshpulatova finished just five points back, both of them in the SM13 classification. SM6 British swimmer Maisie Summers-Newton gave the home crowd something to cheer about finishing third with 910 points.

The women’s 50m freestyle was all about visually impaired swimmers with the top two being visually impaired swimmers. British swimmer Hannah Russell finished in 27.54 seconds for 931 points while American Martinez had 924 points, setting a new Americas record of 31.54 seconds for the S11 classification. Bronze was claimed by Toshpulatova, backing up well from the Medley.

The men’s 200m individual medley final came down to just one point with Uzbek swimmer Dimitry Horlin breaking home fans hearts. Horlin had a score of 888 with British swimmer Ollie Hynd getting 887, the podium rounded out by Kahoru Harazawa who set a new British record in the SM10 classification of 2:14.59.

The final was the men’s 50m freestyle with Britain again doing well with Matthew Wylie earning 871 points. Uzbekistan continued their impressive meet as Muzaffar Tusunhujaev finished second with 859 points while another Brit, Lewis White, finished third.